Ministers in Police Control Rooms

Modi lied about being unaware of the presence of two ministers in control room. SIT failed to investigate these minister’s roles in conjunction with their phone records

ALLEGATION NO. V – Cabinet Ministers I. K. Jadeja and Ashok Bhatt were positioned in the DGP office and Ahmedabad City Control Room respectively by the CM.

The Lies

Modi’s claims ignorance in his answer to SIT

Q.27. Did you take a decision to allow Shri Ashok Bhatt and Shri I.K. Jadeja to sit in the State Control Room and Ahmedabad City Control Room, respectively which adversely affected the supervision of the riot situation by DGP and CP, Ahmedabad City respectively

Ans. No such decision was taken and no such discussions took place in the meeting. Subsequently, I came to know about this allegation from media. However, I do not have any personal knowledge about the positioning of these two Ministers in the two Control Rooms.

Firstly, In Feb-Mar 2002, Modi was not only the CM of Gujarat, he was also Cabinet minister for Home department.

Is Modi claiming that he was such a clueless and ignorant Home Minister that he had no idea about decisions being supposedly taken by his junior minister Mr Zadafia, and only came to know about these later from the media? Given how his own bhakts praise him for being very hands-on, keeping track of specific projects of his cabinet colleague, and his general autocratic working style we all have seen, is this at all credible?

Strangely, on another interview with TOI on March 30, 2002 immediately after the riots, Modi did not dispute this, and claimed this was a “routine and regular tradition” to “monitor and coordinate the rescue and relief measures”.

Q. Two of your ministers are reported to have been in the Ahmedabad police control room when the riots broke out in Ahmedabad. What action do you plan against them?

A. It has always been a tradition in this state for senior ministers to monitor and coordinate the rescue and relief measures from the control rooms. This is treated as a routine and regular exercise. During the earthquake, ministers were actively coordinating the relief activities from the police control room. I feel distressed to see that this also is being twisted by the media, with the sole objective of maligning my government

Not only had Modi forgotten about this tradition when he spoke to SIT in 2010, he had also learnt that other ministries have no business getting involved in Law and Order affairs. In response to an earlier question from SIT, he said:

0.26. Did Shri Ashok Bhatt, the then Health Minister and Shri I. K. Jadeja, the then Minister of Urban Development attend the said meeting?

Ans.  Both these Ministers must have attended the Cabinet meeting but they were not present in the Law & Order meeting, as it was not their subject.

SIT agreeing partially with the allegation

In Several places, SIT agrees that these ministers were indeed stationed at the Police control rooms.

p29 2010 report

However,Sh K Chakravarti has stated that he was informed by S Ashok Narayan that it was decided by the Govt that IK Jadeja would sit in DGP’s office on 28-02-2002 to get information about the Law & order situation in the state, as the state control room was located in his office. Sh Ashok Narayan also informed him that Shri Ashok Bhatt would similarly sit in the Ahmedabad Cily Police Control Room situated in the office of the CP, Ahmedabad City.

p31 2010 report

Shri I.K. Jadeja. the then Minister of Urban Housing, Roads & Building and Capital projects has stated before the SIT that on 28-02-2002, Shri Gordhan Zadafia, the then MoS (Home) had requested him to remain present in the DGP’s office in Police Bhavan, Gandhinagar to see that in case any information is received in the Control Room about any rioting incident or request is received for extra police force or any other issue of importance then the same should be passed on to the DGP, Home Minister etc.

In view of this request. Shri Jadeja remained present in the office of DGP Shri K.Chakravarthi for 3-4 hours for next 3/4 days. However. he does not recollect as to what work was done by him, but in case some information was received, about some incident from the party workers/common man, the same was passed on to the DGP for necessary action.

Now let us look at this logically.

Who can order & authorize two cabinet level ministers to do something? A lower ranked Minister of State (MoS)†? Or their boss, the Chief Minister?

How can IK Jadeja conveniently forget what he did during the riots? Why did the SIT not show him his call records in order to refresh his memory?

p32 2010 report

This was a very controversial decision taken by the Govt to place two of Its Ministers in the State Police Conlrol Room as well Ahmedabad City Police Control Room. Though evidence is available to establish that both the Ministers visited Ihe respective Conlrol Rooms. Yet there Is no evidence to establish that they passed on instructions to the police officers to deal with the riots in a particular manner. In view of this, ,the allegation is only partially proved.

So, what was the SIT expecting? That officers like PC Pande and K Chakravarti will openly and easily admit that they were under pressure from these ministers? Will they just admit their own shortcomings, admit intervention?

The things SIT ignored

IK Jadeja was the minister of Urban housing while Ashok Bhatt was the Health minister at the time. Neither had any business being at the police headquarters.

Obviously, the complicit police offers were always going to deny being influenced by these ministers. That line of investigation was unlikely to lead to any prosecutable evidence, and indeed it did not. The critical question that needed to be explored by SIT was to determine if any sensitive information was passed on to the rioters on the ground? What were these ministers doing? Why were they there only during the worst days of rioting? Is that just a coincidence? Is there a pattern in the chain of calls between them to Jaydeep Patel, and then calls made by Jaydeep Patel?

From the Ahmedabad Police Control room, Ashok Bhatt spoke 4 times with Narendra Modi through Modi’s private EPABX, 4 times with Sanjay Bhavsar and once with Tanmay Mehta. In total during those 4 days when the maximum violence took place, Ashok Bhatt spoke 21 times with either Modi or Modi’s private staff. Narendra Modi now wants us to believe that he was not aware of his Cabinet Minister Ashok Bhatt’s whereabouts.

Ashok Bhatt was also speaking to the main accused of Naroda Patiya, Maya Kodnani, and the main accused of Naroda Gam, Jaydeep Patel, while he was supposedly ‘controlling’ the riot situation.

Bhatt and Jadeja were in the Police control room during the worst days of rioting – the days when police failed to prevent genocides at Naroda and Gulberg barely a few miles away from this control room. It is clear that they did not add much value in preventing the killings. SIT failed in finding how much value did they add in abetting the killings.

† Gordhan Zadaphia, Modi’s deputy Home minister,floated a new political party, Mahagujarat Janata Party (MJP) during the 2007 assembly elections in Gujarat, later merged into the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) of former chief minister Keshubhai Patel.  He is now back with BJP.

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